------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug War Is A Lost Cause - Like Prohibition (Op-Ed In 'Los Angeles Times' By Mike Gray, Author Of 'Drug Crazy - How We Got Into This Mess And How We Can Get Out,' Explains Why Prohibition Leads Ineluctably To Dead Teenage Informants) Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 10:40:28 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US: OPED: Drug War Is a Lost Cause--Like Prohibition Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 213-237-4712 Pubdate: April 19, 1998 Author: Mike Gray DRUG WAR IS A LOST CAUSE -- LIKE PROHIBITION Using teenagers as informants is sometimes the only option that police have. Sixteen-year-old Jonathan Kollman had been clean for several months--a struggle, but he was hanging in there. Then he ran into this babe in a red sports car who offered to buy him a fix. For a fragile teenager holding on by his fingernails, it was one temptation too many. He made the buy and 10 minutes later, he was back in the jaws of the dragon with heroin in his veins. But what of the Dragon Lady? Who was this evil temptress? Turns out she was a cop--an undercover narcotics officer from the Plano, Texas, police department who needed an informant. Playing on the kid's vulnerability, she reintroduced him to his habit, and once he was rehooked, she was able to use him for a half dozen drug buys. If you believe the end justifies the means, this little operation would have to be considered a resounding success--three dozen people busted for selling or holding heroin, including Kollman. But a lot of the folks in Plano are uneasy about this business of using kids as offensive weapons in the drug war. The boy's parents, for example--having just waged a titanic battle to free their son from addiction--are understandably dismayed that it was the police who turned him on again. But for all their trauma, Jonathan Kollman's parents are lucky. Chad MacDonald Jr.'s mother probably would trade places with them in a second. When her son's badly damaged young frame was found in an alley south of downtown Los Angeles last month, it was revealed that he, too, had been lured into the service of the law. Earlier in the year, the Brea Police Department in Orange County had captured MacDonald with a half ounce of methamphetamine, and they apparently saw in him the makings of a useful snitch. After MacDonald's arrest in January 1998 on charges of possession of methamphetamine, the Brea police offered Chad and his mother a deal, and the pressure must have been intense because they went for it in spite of the obvious danger. Rather than treat his addiction, the deal dropped this high school student unprepared into the boiling pot of cutthroats who populate the illegal drug trade. Since these guys are often facing 10 or 20 years if they're caught, they disdain informants--a fact they underscored by torturing the kid before killing him and then raping and shooting his girlfriend and leaving her for dead in the San Gabriel Mountains. Undoubtedly this is an arrangement that everybody involved wishes they had to do over again, but the truth is, we're likely to see more of this kind of thing in the future, not less. Consider the problem from the cops' viewpoint. You have a bunch of high school kids dealing drugs to one another in private. How do you break into this closed circle? That's the intractable nexus of the war on drugs, the thing that has driven our ongoing assault on the Bill of Rights for more than 80 years. In a drug deal, there's no complaining witness. Most other criminals--the rapist, the robber, the ax murderer--have somebody chasing them or have victims or survivors demanding justice. But when there's nobody to call the cops, the cops have little choice. To break up what is essentially a private transaction, they inevitably have to resort to some subterfuge that will trample the Constitution, whether it's turning your kid into a junkie or splintering your front door without bothering to knock or forcing you to the pavement because you happen to be a black man in an expensive car. It is the nature of the drug war itself that creates this ethical quagmire, not the perversity of the police. Brea Chief William Lentini was simply trying his best to carry out the impossible task we've handed him. Our hands are hardly clean on this issue. The latest polls show that 70% of the American people think the drug war is a failure--and that we should keep at it. As President Clinton has pointed out, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Like a man who has set his hair on fire and is trying to put it out with a hammer, we will continue to pulverize our principles and devour our young until the drug war's violence and corruption finally reaches every nook and cranny of our lives. Only then will we face the fact, as we did with alcohol prohibition in 1933, that the problem is not what's in the bottle, but how we've chosen to deal with it. *** Mike Gray's latest book, "Drug Crazy: How We Got Into This Mess and How We Can Get Out," will be published by Random House in June Copyright Los Angeles Times
------------------------------------------------------------------- Small Plane Carrying Pot Crashes After Chase With Customs Officials ('Associated Press' Says The Pilot Of A Small Plane Loaded With Marijuana Died After It Crashed In A Detroit Field Sunday Night After Being Chased From Texas By US Customs Planes) Subj: US MI: Wire: Small Plane Carrying Pot Crashes After Chase With Customs Officials From: W.H.E.N. Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 23:39:19 -0400 Newshawk: W.H.E.N. Source: Associated Press Author: Randi Goldberg SMALL PLANE CARRYING POT CRASHES AFTER CHASE WITH CUSTOMS OFFICIALS DETROIT (AP) -- A small plane loaded with marijuana crashed in a baseball field Sunday night after being chased from Texas by U.S. Customs planes. Residents ran to help, but some fled with bundles of drugs while the pilot was dying, witnesses said. Three Customs planes had been chasing the aircraft -- carrying 300 pounds of marijuana -- since El Paso, Texas, Fire Chief Lee Moore said. The pilot apparently ran low on fuel before crashing in the field, about 1,500 miles from El Paso. Customs officials began following the plane in Texas as part of a routine surveillance operation, authorities said. Customs officials often follow planes near the U.S. and Mexican border, said Moore, who believes the pilot was trying to get to Canada. "I'm assuming in his desperation there was an attempt to stop in this field," Moore said. Customs officials did not return phone calls seeking comment. Neighbor Gloria Johnson said she heard a boom, saw the plane hit a tree and then crash into the field. She said the pilot was still alive when neighbors ran to help. "There were big bundles of drugs and money all around the plane," Ms. Johnson said. "The bundles of marijuana looked like two big suitcases." Ms. Johnson said she saw people leave the scene with some of the packages. "A couple of guys came to help, then grabbed the bags of drugs and left," Johnson said. Police would not confirm that. The plane was upside-down and missing its tail after the crash. About 20 firefighters and police officers flipped it over and extracted the pilot's body. No one else was believed to be aboard the plane, Moore said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Temperance Movement Grows In Chicago, A Precinct At A Time ('New York Times' Says Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley Has Been Promoting A 'Vote Dry' Campaign, With City Hall Lawyers Teaching Residents How To Outlaw The Sale Of Alcohol In A Precinct, Typically A Few Blocks Of 400 To 500 People, Or Even At A Particular Address) Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 10:50:00 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US NYT: Temperance Movement Grows in Chicago, a Precinct at a Time Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: "Dick Evans"
Source: New York Times (NY) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Pubdate: Sun. April 19, 1998 Author: Dirk Johnson TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT GROWS IN CHICAGO, A PRECINCT AT A TIME Drawing pistols and swinging axes to bust up illegal speakeasies, Eliot Ness and other federal prohibition agents stalked Al Capone and the gangster bootleggers on this town's wickedest streets in the booze wars of the 1920s. Since the 21st Amendment repealed Prohibition and legalized the sale of alcohol in 1933, Chicago has never been known as a place where thirst goes unquenched. But a new temperance movement has taken hold in this shot-and-a-beer city, a crusade to make some Chicago neighborhoods as sober as Salt Lake City on Sunday morning. In an effort to make city neighborhoods more wholesome and appealing to families, Mayor Richard M. Daley has been promoting a "vote dry" campaign, with City Hall lawyers teaching citizens groups how to outlaw the sale of alcohol in a precinct, typically a few blocks of 400 to 500 people, or even at a particular address. "If you decide in your precinct to do this," Daley told cheering crowds at Salem Baptist Church on the South Side recently, "you will have the full support of my administration." If 25 percent of the registered voters in a precinct sign a petition to outlaw the sale of alcohol, the measure goes on the ballot in the next general election. Nearly 50 precincts, or parts of precincts, have been voted dry in the last decade, a number that could soar with the Daley administration pushing the technique. Some tavern and liquor store owners have expressed outrage about the effort, saying they are being made scapegoats. "This is ridiculous," said Jerry Rosen, the director of the Illinois Liquor Store Association. "I understand Daley wants to make the city more livable, so everybody doesn't run to the suburbs. But he's got this fascist mentality. He doesn't like something -- that's it. Well, this is really unfair." But in some neighborhoods crowded cheek by jowl with bars and liquor stores, alcohol so dominates the landscape that little else seems able to thrive. Along some parts of 79th Street on the city's South Side, drunks urinate in public and crowds of foul-mouthed young men rule the street corners. "These places are disrespecting the neighborhood," said the Rev. Michael Pfleger, the pastor of St. Sabina's Roman Catholic Church on the South Side, who is leading a petition drive to put some liquor stores out of business. "Some of these places look like junk houses," Pfleger said. "And they attract alcoholics, drug addicts." The 48-year-old priest, who has long protested the preponderance of alcohol billboards in poor, black neighborhoods, said the unsavory atmosphere created by some liquor stores had caused many other shopkeepers to flee. The Daley administration's anti-alcohol efforts are part of a series of moves intended to make Chicago a better-behaved and more upstanding place for families. Thirty-eight of the city's 50 wards have a moratorium on the issuance of new liquor licenses. The city has passed measures intended to keep out "gentlemen's clubs," where women dance naked on tables and sometimes sit on the laps of men. To shame the patrons of prostitutes, City Hall distributes a list of men who have been arrested by police, a list that is often published in neighborhood newspapers. Mr. Daley also announced recently that the city would demolish some "hot pillow" motels on North Lincoln Avenue, places used mostly for illegal sex, and build a police station, a park and a branch library there. Lamenting that the neighborhood had become "a place for families to avoid," Mr. Daley declared, "That reputation will change." The mayor, who goes to Mass regularly at Old St. Patrick's Church and refuses to do any business on Sunday because it is a day reserved for his family, has little tolerance for untidy streets or unseemly behavior. A few years ago he ordered that the St. Patrick's Day Parade be held on Saturdays, so that families could attend, and he sent word to police that public drunkenness and wild behavior would no longer be tolerated as part of the Irish celebration. Daley is not a teetotaler, and he has said most of the 6,000 establishments in Chicago selling liquor conduct themselves honorably. But neighborhoods that attract an unruly bar crowd, he said, have little chance of keeping families. Judy Ollry, who lives in a neighborhood near Midway Airport, said a bar near her home was making life miserable. "People were having sex in the alleys," she said. "They were falling asleep in doorways." She and her neighbors got a petition to put the issue on the ballot, and it won handily. Neighbors did not want to vote the entire precinct dry, Mrs. Ollry said, because it would have shuttered a popular, well-run Polish dancing bar, the Baby Doll Polka Club. They only wanted to close a trouble-making tavern called Off the Wall. Since the tavern was forced to close, she said, the problems have declined sharply. Mrs. Ollry, who has a young daughter, is married to a Chicago firefighter, John Ollry, who is required to live within the city. She said she had watched many people give up and move to the suburbs. "We're invested in this neighborhood," said Mrs. Ollry, who recently upgraded her kitchen. "We're not going to let some awful bar run us out."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot Finds Fresh Crop Of Users (Biased 'New Haven Register' Article About Johnes Festival '98 At Western Connecticut State University In Danbury Saturday Ignores Its Call For The Reform Of Marijuana Laws In Favor Of The Traditional Mass Media Treatment - Start With An Interview Of The Youngest Person The Reporter Can Find Smoking Cannabis, And Be Sure To Quote Lots Of Discredited Drug Warrior Propaganda) Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 09:58:34 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CT: Pot Finds Fresh Crop of Users Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Tom VonDeck
Source: New Haven Register (CT) Contact: Editor@ctcentral.com Pubdate: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 Author: Walter Kita POT FINDS FRESH CROP OF USERS DANBURY - College senior Michael Burnett, who describes himself as an ''infrequent'' pot smoker, says young adults who inhale marijuana regularly aren't doing anything wrong. In fact, he contends, they are only acting naturally. ''Marijuana comes from the Earth and has proven medical benefits,'' said Burnett, 23, one of several hundred who attended the Johnes Festival '98 at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury Saturday to call for the reform of marijuana laws. ''People who use it responsibly for recreation probably aren't going to get hurt.'' Burnett's relaxed attitude, experts say, is fairly typical of a new generation of pot smokers who are rediscovering marijuana in alarming numbers. A relatively small but enthusiastic group of those true believers joined Burnett at the event, which had the ''free and easy'' feeling of a Grateful Dead concert and featured a staggering display of shaggy hair and tie-dye. Despite Saturday's frivolity, concern about a resurgence of popularity in marijuana, particularly among adolescents and teens, has state and federal legislators very worried. So much so, in fact, that The Partnership for a Drug Free America recently lauched an ad campaign targeted at nipping cannibis use in the bud. New statistics suggest the lawmakers' concerns are justified. A partnership study released last week found that parents of the ''baby boom'' generation are seriously underestimating the presence of drugs in their children's lives. The study also found that children whose parents talk to them about the dangers are better off than those who don't. Only 28 percent of the teens polled, however, said they had had such conversations. Among college students, marijuana use has dipped a bit since its peak in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but various studies indicate a fair number of young people still light up a joint occasionally, according to David Musto, Yale professor of the history of medicine and psychiatry. ''If you look at the history of pot use in America, it goes up and down, but among college students there always seems to be a lot of kids willing to experiment with it,'' Musto said. One big reason: Pot is still among the most economical ''highs'' around. For about $5, enough for two marijuana cigarettes, the effects can last an entire day, said Katurah Abdul-Salaam, a supervisor in the substance abuse unit of the Connecticut Mental Health Center in New Haven. The effects of cocaine and crack, Abdul-Salaam added, are much shorter, lasting only about 20 minutes. Despite the claims of some that pot is among the least harmful ''recreational'' drugs, experts say new scientifc research suggests its harmful effects may be more profound than anyone previously thought. Patricia Kitchen, a nurse clinician in the Hospital of St. Raphael substance abuse unit, said that is the result of pot's unique chemical properties, which allows it to be stored in the body's fat cells for up to three days after it is smoked. Acute pot usage, Kitchen said, slows reflexes, reduces peripheral vision, impairs judgment and decreases concentration. Chronic pot users, Kitchen said, run the risk of developing ''amotivational syndrome,'' which she described as a profound lack of desire to achieve. Pot also has been shown to have adverse effects on the brain and reproductive organs. While much of this information has been around for years, Kitchen said it bears repeating in the wake of a growing attitude among pot users that a drug that comes from the earth can't be all bad. ''You hear people saying that a lot these days - that pot is a natural high, which suggests that somehow it isn't as bad for you,'' Kitchen said. ''That simply isn't true.'' Few of those who attended Saturday's festival at Western Connecticut State University were buying into those words. For them, and their supporters, the issue of marijuana use is a ''free speech'' issue. Legalizing marijuana, they argue, will eliminate organized crime and save taxpayers the billions of dollars that are spent each year in the government's crackdown on pot and other illegal drugs. ''The current approach to the problem clearly isn't working,'' said Jospeh Grabarz, executive director of the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union, an adviser to the organizers of Saturday's festival. ''Our position is that the government shouldn't be telling you what kind of things you can and cannot put into your body.'' (c) 1998, New Haven Register
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Volatile Career Path Of A Drug Corner Kingpin (Morality Tale In 'Washington Post' About A Local Seller Of Illegal Drugs Shows More Danger From Prohibition Than Drugs) Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 22:20:19 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: US DC: WP: The Volatile Career Path of a Drug Corner Kingpin Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Washington Post Author: Michael Powell, Washington Post Staff Writer Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Pubdate: Suncay, 19 April1998 THE VOLATILE CAREER PATH OF A DRUG CORNER KINGPIN He was just another kid on just another corner in the deadliest city in the nation. Leroy Watson Jr., nicknamed "Love," attended Paul Junior High School in Northwest Washington's Brightwood neighborhood when crack cocaine arrived 1986. Cars crawled by day and night, and crack vials and dollar bills were everywhere. Watson became a student of this world, slinging dope and running errands for dealers on 10th and V streets NW in the Shaw neighborhood. He watched as homicides doubled, tripled, quadrupled and quintupled. In 1992, Watson made his career move and executed his drug boss, a 40-year-old named Franklin Michael Carter. He inherited a $2 million-a-year business, according to police. Watson's rise and eventual fall in 1996 neatly encompass the deadliest 10 years in the city's history. His was a progression -- charted in police and court records and interviews with family, friends and detectives -- that mirrored the decade, from selling marijuana to heroin and crack, from carrying a knife to wielding a Glock, from a gangling want-to-be drug dealer to king of a drug corner. It was a path trodden by thousands of black male teenagers in Washington, with tragic consequences for themselves and their victims. Leroy Watson Jr. was born in 1970, into a family where both parents worked. His nickname had an obvious provenance. "Leroy had that big smile, and he'd beg for a hug," recalled his father, Leroy Watson Sr., who is a construction worker. "He was the love of our life; so we named him 'Love.' " Two years later, Watson and his wife divorced. There's no love lost, but he doesn't blame their son's fate on her. "It's hard in this day for a single parent," Watson said. "I saw Leroy all the time, but he just started to drift away." By the time Watson Jr. was 15, he tooled around on a red bike, selling dope for Carter. Many evenings, he would sit on the steps of Garnet-Patterson Junior High School and count his daily dope money. Watson Jr. recruited his drug crew from the same school; a reader can leaf through a 1985 Garnet-Patterson yearbook and pick out their faces and coltish smiles. Under his guidance, they would shed their collective innocence like a skin. One day, in the late 1980s, five officers served a search warrant on a rowhouse on 10th Street. It was a nuisance complaint. But as the door opened, seven teenage boys whom Watson had recruited bolted toward the back window and fire escape. In the dark, a detective ran around to the alley. "Police! Stop!" the detective recalled shouting. A metal object clattered down the fire escape. It was a .357 magnum. Later, officers recovered six fully loaded semiautomatic pistols in the apartment. "They were on their way to waste a block of rivals," the police officer remembered. Watson Jr.'s adolescence was a blur of judgment days postponed. His first felony arrest came at age 15, and he got probation. Time and again, he flashed a smile that even the cops described as "angelic," and judges would release him in his mother's custody. "We offered to show the judge a videotape of Watson dealing dope on the steps of the school but he wasn't interested," one officer recalled. "Leroy had a complete disdain for the cops and courts." Bad segued to worse. Two police officers who worked in the 3rd District and investigated Watson allege that he killed several men, and that his crew dispatched a few more. Their decision-making process was rather arbitrary, police recall. One night a man disrespected Watson Jr. at a nightclub. Said something, did something or brushed up against someone, no one really remembers. The man got into his red jeep and drove to a gas station on Georgia Avenue NW, as Watson's crew trailed behind him. Before the man could get out of his car, he was dead. Police counted 96 bullet holes in his jeep. A similar fate befell Carter, the husky, bearded dealer who ran the 10th and V drug corner for years. He and a buddy were cruising on June 3, 1992, checking out the turf, when Watson Jr. and two other youths pulled up alongside in their own car. Someone in Watson's car pulled a gun and pumped a bullet into the head of Carter's friend. Carter took off, driving half a block before he lost control and crashed into a store window. Watson Jr. jogged over, police say, and shot his former boss in the head. "The point was to kill Carter publicly, so people would know who did it," recalled an officer. "That's how you established your rep. He knew no one would squeal." Watson was arrested and charged with the murder. But it was 1992. Gangs had killed several witnesses in spectacular fashion. The sole witness to Carter's killing moved to Chicago and suffered sudden memory loss. Within months, Watson walked free. Several years later, police arrested Watson on drug charges. He did time in Lorton, and was 26 before he got out and tried to reclaim his corner. Now his own young lieutenants made a business decision. They ambushed him at midnight. Shot him many times. Leroy Watson Jr., R.I.P. Watson Sr. remembers the 2 a.m. telephone call. It was his sister: "Love" was dead. He got out of bed, kissed his three young children as they slept (Watson Sr. is remarried and fiercely protective of his children), and drove to the drug corner. "I knew where he was killed without asking," he said. "I just needed to see it." At the funeral, Watson Sr. offered his hand to the detective investigating his son's death. The detective extended his left hand; his right hand clasped a shotgun under his overcoat. The police feared that Watson's former lieutenants might show up at the funeral and kill more of their rivals. The father shudders, his eyes and body constricted with more pain than he can give voice to. In a whisper, he renders the most terrible judgment a father could imagine. "It may be just as well Leroy didn't survive," he said. "If he'd made it, the first thing that would have come to his mind was revenge." (c) Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
------------------------------------------------------------------- Five Big City Mayors Back Needle Exchanges ('Reuters' Says The Mayors Of San Francisco, Detroit, Seattle, New Haven And Baltimore Urged The Clinton Administration On Friday To Allow Federal Money To Be Used For Needle Exchange Programs, Noting That 33 Americans Are Infected Every Day With The Virus That Causes AIDS As A Result Of Injecting Illegal Drugs - But Representative Gerald Solomon, The New York Republican Who Heads The House Rules Committee, Said He Would Act To Stop Such A Move And Work To Pass Legislation Permanently Banning Such Payments) Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 10:52:37 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US NYT: Five Big City Mayors Back Needle Exchanges Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Dick Evans
Source: New York Times (NY) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Pubdate: Sun, April 19, 1998 FIVE BIG CITY MAYORS BACK NEEDLE EXCHANGES WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The Mayors of five cities urged the Clinton Administration on Friday to allow Federal money to be used for needle exchange programs for drug users, but an influential Congressman said he would act to stop such a move. The Mayors, who serve in San Francisco, Detroit, Seattle, New Haven and Baltimore, said in a letter to Donna E. Shalala, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, that 33 Americans were infected every day with the virus that causes AIDS as a result of injecting drugs. But Representative Gerald B.H. Solomon, the New York Republican who heads the House Rules Committee, said he would work to pass legislation permanently banning such payments. Congress has asked Dr. Shalala to determine whether needle exchange programs would reduce H.I.V. infection and would not promote illegal drug use. She certified the first condition in February 1997 and her determination on the second is pending.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Americans Prefer Smack To Crack (Britain's 'Independent on Sunday' Says The Precise Figures For Drug Use In The United States Are Notoriously Unreliable But The Overall Trend During The Nineties Indicates Cocaine Use Is Down And Heroin Use Is Up - Drug Enforcement Administration Figures Based On Hospital Emergency Room Admissions Suggest Heroin Use Has More Than Doubled Since 1990 - However, The Actual Number Of People Who Use Cocaine Remains Significantly Higher, Possibly By A Factor Of Five) Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 12:30:08 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: UK: Americans Prefer Smack to Crack Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com ((Zosimos) Martin Cooke) Source: Independent on Sunday Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ Pubdate: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 Author: John Carlin AMERICANS PREFER SMACK TO CRACK THE PRECISE figures for drug use in the United States are notoriously unreliable but the overall trend during the Nineties indicates convincingly that cocaine use, especially in the form of crack cocaine, is down and heroin use is up. The statistical difficulties emerge from the fact that data on drug use is collected by more than 50 government bodies, many of them employing different criteria to evaluate their findings, and often to extrapolate them. Some base their conclusions on questionnaires, some on arrest figures, some on hospital admissions, some on urine samples taken from jail inmates. All figures vary depending on geographical region. Taking this ample proviso into account, all findings indicate that the number of drug users in America has declined by half since the late Seventies, down from about 25 million to 13 million. According to figures compiled by the Department of Health and Human services the number of people who use cocaine, which includes crack, fell from a 1985 peak of 5.7 million to 1.4 million in 1994. The figures since have remained stable, although regional breakdowns show decreases in big north-eastern urban centres like New York and increases in smaller Southern cities like Birmingham, Alabama. Heroin, by contrast, has increased significantly in popularity during the Nineties at a rate comparable to what government officials call the epidemic of the late Sixties. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration's figures, which tend to tally in general terms with those of other government bodies, heroin use has more than doubled in America since 1990. The DEA's conclusion is based on hospital emergency room admissions for heroin users, which rose from 33,052 in 1990 to 74,714 in 1995 and appears to be continuing to climb. Donna Shalala, the Health and Human Services secretary, said last August that heroin use had been climbing steadily for three successive years, the biggest increases being noted among those who smoked or snorted the drug rather than those who favour the traditional method of intravenous injection. She said a growing number of teenagers were trying heroin for the first time. The actual number of people who use cocaine remains significantly higher than the number who use heroin, possibly by a factor of five judging from hospital and police figures. But the trend away from cocaine and towards heroin remains clear. Why? If the statistics are elusive, assessing the complex combination of factors that make up the shadowy drug market - from cultivation in South America to consumption in America's inner cities and middle-class suburbs - remains a matter of informed speculation. Barry McCaffrey, the White House drugs tsar, patted himself on the back after coming up with figures last year suggesting a 6 per cent decline from 1995 to 1996 in overall drug use. "The reasons for this apparent turn-around involve everyone in America - parents, teachers, coaches, religious leaders and community coalitions," General McCaffrey said. He might have noted that the US has quadrupled its spending on combating drugs in the past decade and that where the effect has been most noted, possibly due in part to some measure of collaboration with the governments of Colombia and Bolivia where previously there was none, has been with cocaine. Which, in turn, could suggest that the drug mafias have chosen to diversify to some degree, turning their energies more to the heroin market. One significant statistic provided by the DEA shows that whereas five years ago 65 per cent of the heroin used in the United States came from the traditional Latin American cocaine exporters, today the figure stands at 95 per cent. Right now the biggest cause of concern for the US government, however, is the spectacular increase in marijuana use, in particular among young people. In the 12 to 17 age group marijuana use has more than doubled since 1991.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Another Round On Booze Lobbies ('Edmonton Sun' In Alberta, Canada, Assumes That With 40 Percent Of Traffic Fatalities In The US Traceable To Alcohol, Setting A National Standard For Drunken Driving Should Be A No Brainer - But A Measure To Equalize Standards That Won Approval In The US Senate Recently And Was Backed By The President Never Even Got To A Vote In The House, Providing A Lesson In American Politics And The Strange Bedfellows That Lie Together When Cash, Votes, And Local Customs Are Involved) Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 12:29:37 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US DC: Another Round on Booze Lobbies Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Edmonton Sun (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.canoe.ca/EdmontonSun/ Pubdate: April 19, 1998 Author: Pat Harden -- Washington Bureau ANOTHER ROUND ON BOOZE LOBBIES WASHINGTON -- With more than 40% of traffic fatalities in the U.S. traceable to alcohol, you'd think that setting a national standard for drunken driving would be a no-brainer. Who could object? Everyone knows of some tragedy caused by a drunk at the wheel. Beer and liquor companies preach the "responsible drinking" sermon and police departments everywhere press for "zero tolerance" among young drivers. A measure to equalize standards across the country won quick approval in the U.S. Senate recently. Backed by the White House, its move through the House and into law seemed assured. But it never even got to a vote. How this seemingly popular proposal died is a lesson in American politics - and the strange bedfellows that lie together when cash, votes and local customs are involved. The drunk-driving bill was killed by Republicans pressured by the booze industry, by Democrats fearful of offending blue collar supporters, both urban and rural, and by states-righters who object to any sort of federal intervention. Project backers sought to impose a level of .08 grams of alcohol per decilitre of blood - the same as in Alberta - as the standard. States that failed to set the level would lose up to 10% of the federal highway funds, which could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. Nearly one-third of America's 50 states already set the .08% level as the "per se" threshold. That means, with .08% blood alcohol concentrations, a person can be convicted of drunk driving on the test alone; evidence of dangerous or erratic driving is not necessary. Most of the remaining states use a level of .10% limit. Translated into real life, the lower level could be reached by a 77-kg man consuming five drinks in two hours or by a 54-kg woman downing two glasses of wine in the same period. Studies suggest that more than 500 lives would be saved each year by reducing the threshold. But other studies show the average BAC level among fatally injured drunk drivers is .18% - more than twice the proposed .08% limit. While the pros and cons of reduction were being argued in public and on Internet web sites, the real drive to kill the bill was hardly visible to the public. Distillers, breweries and the hospitality industry, all vehemently opposed to the lower-booze threshold, are huge contributors to lawmakers' campaign war chests. In this election year, donors had only to hint that funds might not be forthcoming for the Republican majority - which receives most of the cash - to get the message. GOP leadership, led by Speaker Newt Gingrich, decided the bill should never leave committee. Backers hoped for a last-ditch fight on the House floor. But minority whip David Bonior stifled that move. Bonior's Detroit constituency is filled with Joe Lunchbucket types who regularly quaff a few brews after a tough day on the production line. Michigan stands to collect millions for roads from the highway fund. Then there were Democrats like Wisconsin's David Obey who feared the lower standard would frighten voters away from bars where, traditionally, they do their socializing. The Wisconsin custom, as in other rural states, is for folks to meet friends and family in taverns. "Urban snobs may not like it," said Obey, "but that's the way it is." Finally, there were the states-righters who charged a national standard would be "federal blackmail." With this coalition working together, the bill didn't have a chance. In American politics, it doesn't matter how important the legislation. Nothing wins unless the member of Congress sees a real benefit for himself or herself.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Warning - Zealotry May Be Hazardous (Op-Ed In 'Washington Post' By Fred Barbash Examines The Hypocrisy Evidenced By The Demise Of Joe Camel While The Budweiser Frog Dances On) Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 21:53:10 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: US: WP: Warning: Zealotry May Be Hazardous Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Washington Post Section: Outlook, Page C01 Author: Fred Barbash Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Pubdate: Sunday, 19 April 1998 Note: Fred Barbash is deputy editor of Outlook. WARNING: ZEALOTRY MAY BE HAZARDOUS Question: What's the difference between a talking lizard and a camel? Answer: One will live and the other must die. The reason: The lizard represents alcohol, specifically Budweiser. The camel is an advertising icon for cigarettes. Is that because smoking kills but alcohol doesn't? No, they both kill, but the anti-smoking lobby is stronger and smarter than the anti-alcohol lobby. Big Health is getting its way with Big Tobacco. And if you are smart, you will get out of its way, because the anti-smokers are in a take-no-prisoners mood. After years of frustration and lost battles, they've got tobacco on the run. The strength of the coalition against tobacco is one of the great political phenomena of our era. Mobilization against a single target by a president, the Congress, 40 state attorneys general, many state legislatures, the YMCA, the YWCA, the Sierra Club, much of organized religion, organized education, organized medicine and a lot of trial lawyers, among others, may be a first in peacetime. But the wartime fervor with which the anti-smoking movement pursues its aims, its deployment of extreme measures, including punitive legislation and a carpet bombing of lawsuits, concerns me -- especially because I have seen no evidence that heavy blunt instruments are the best way to deal with complicated public health problems, such as addiction. By now you're wondering if I smoke. I do. But I am not anti anti-smoking. I am grateful that the movement has made it impossible for me to smoke in my office and in restaurants. These restrictions have cut my consumption dramatically. Having started at age 12 and watched family members suffer from smoking-related cancers, I certainly don't want my children taking up the habit. I have no love for tobacco companies, who have made money off me from a product I wish I didn't use. Smoking is a terrible thing. Smoking stinks. But in its pursuit of Big Tobacco, Big Health is taking on a certain odor, too. To be blunt, I smell fanaticism. All democracies need zealots. They sometimes bring us to terms with realities we would sooner ignore and useful solutions we would sooner avoid. But the combination of zealotry and power -- a confederacy of zealots -- is another matter. Extreme measures, once legitimized in law, can be used by others, for other purposes. You may like them when you approve of the target, but you will surely hate them when you don't. (Those in favor of abortion rights ought to worry, about which more later.) Last week, for example, the Maryland legislature decided that the state needed some help in its lawsuit against the tobacco industry. So, with the case already in progress, the legislature changed the rules of the game. It barred a legal defense that the industry has used successfully in other lawsuits and in the early rounds of the Maryland suit (that smokers were aware of the danger) and gave the state attorney general the legal right to use a specific statistical technique to argue its case. Do we really want legislatures to intervene this way? Would you approve if you had filed a medical malpractice suit, based on current law, and the legislature suddenly came in and gave the doctor or the hospital a new weapon? (Some of the lawsuits are illegitimate on the merits and exist only to drain the companies. U.S. District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp declared Wednesday, as he dismissed one case in Florida that "the tobacco industry has, of late, become the whipping boy of American political discourse. The fact that the tobacco industry has recently become very unpopular, however, is insufficient ground for this court to overturn well-established common-law rules.") Consider Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's boast that "we'll tax the hell out of" the tobacco companies. What if Gingrich was talking about, say, your all-terrain vehicle (energy conservation) or your beach house (environmental degradation), your diet (too much fat) or your video rentals (too violent, too sexy)? Consider an organization calling itself the Florida Pilot Program on Tobacco Control, which put out a list of anti-tobacco "demands" on a poster picturing a youth in what appears to be an Irish Republican Army-type balaclava (or is it a Batman costume?) surrounded by teenagers: "Today, supporters of tobacco become our target," the poster trumpets, indicting "distributors, advertising agencies, the media that accept tobacco advertising and the movies that glamorize it." "We're truth," these teenagers proclaim. No, I want to say, you're scary. So was the man who ran in front of me a few weekends ago at a CVS in Northwest Washington when I was buying a pack of cigarettes. The man declared himself part of a group fed up with "neighborhood stores selling cigarettes," shrieked at the unfortunate sales clerk, flung a printed brochure at her and said he'd be back. All of this comes, of course, as Congress considers perhaps the most purely punitive piece of legislation in history -- legislation with a multibillion-dollar price tag for millions of Americans, more restrictions on freedom of speech in advertising for the tobacco companies and authority for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to impose a ban on nicotine, which would in effect be a ban on smoking. In the end, banning is what this is all about, no matter what the movement claims now. Indeed, the closest analogy in memory to the anti-smoking movement may be the movement to ban abortion. Members of both use the language of war-crimes tribunals in describing their opponents. ("They have knowingly peddled a killer product," said Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran when he filed suit against the industry. "Now we will take them to a courthouse to seek justice for their deceitful conduct.") Both the antiabortion and the anti-smoking crusades are premised on the conviction that killers are on the loose, an essential justification for their extreme measures. Both would like to persuade people to give up the activity but have failed. Unable to simply ban the targeted menace, they have looked for back-door methods to force people into compliance -- regulations, blacklists of co-conspirators to be pressured and boycotted, and restrictions on advertising. The use of the courts, and the federal and state apparatus of taxing and spending, have been common weapons, albeit differently employed. The antiabortion groups have tried, with considerable success, to deny tax money to "abortionists" through iterations of the Hyde Amendment, which restricts use of Medicaid funds. The anti-smoking lobby has tried more direct approaches: File so many lawsuits on behalf of so many plaintiffs that even if they lose most of them, the cost of defense and the bad publicity will put the enemy in the corner. Once they're there, use the taxing power to punish the tobacco companies (and smokers) for the lies they told while defending themselves. Finally, both the antiabortion people and the anti-tobacco movements have dealt with complicated questions of individual liberty in a similar fashion. Since Americans tend to believe in choice, these movements against choice have turned for justification to "innocent victims" -- specifically, the unborn and children, for whom there is no choice at all. The coalition against smoking is strong but may not be strong enough to prevent itself from falling apart. As is often true of movements that include absolutists, it is fracturing into the merely pure and the purer-than-thou. For the latter, the legislation worked out between Big Tobacco and Big Health isn't strong enough. They believe a $5 billion cap on annual payments for lawsuits is a form of immunity. The merely pure think this is the best they can do, that without the tobacco industry's voluntary submission, restrictions on advertising will be found unconstitutional. I fear the precedent of the anti-smoking remedies now before the Congress. What will they be used for next? Perhaps fat. Excuse me, Big Fat. As I understand it, fat, when used as intended, causes heart disease, which actually kills more people each year than smoking. And have you seen any of those chocolate ads, the ones targeting children, or the adult versions, where a beautiful woman caresses a nougat bar with her moist, alluring lips? Consider that there are no warnings on boxes of high-fat cake about the hazards to our health, no restrictions on purchases of bacon by people under 26 and, to my knowledge, no lawsuits. How about a fat tax? I'll admit there are some differences. The body needs some fat. And so far, fat has not been declared addictive, chocolate addicts notwithstanding. But it is a food, falling under the jurisdiction of the FDA, and therefore automatically qualifies for regulation. If you think an anti-tobacco-style attack on fat is far-fetched, consider that, before he resigned, former FDA Commissioner David Kessler had already targeted Big Fat, starting with labeling requirements to make sure it was properly exposed on the content labels. You think I'm going too far? Read the wording of some of the anti-tobacco bills and you'll appreciate that going too far is the name of their game. Defenders of today's anti-tobacco tactics can argue that the problem is so serious, the enemy so powerful, that extreme action is surely justified in response. But that old refrain -- extremism in pursuit of vice -- is still crazy, after all these years. (c) Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
------------------------------------------------------------------- Two Major Conferences On Pharmacotherapy For Opiate Dependence At The New York Academy Of Medicine (Bulletin And Registration Information From The Lindesmith Center About Events June 6 And September 25) Return-Path: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com Date: Sun, 19 Apr 98 19:29:58 EST To: #TLC__CANNABIS_at_osifirstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, #TLC__CEE_at_osifirstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: First Internt'l Conf on Heroin Maintenance - NYC - 6/6/98 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Two Major Conferences On Pharmacotherapy For Opiate Dependence At THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF MEDICINE 5th Avenue and 103rd Street New York, New York THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON HEROIN MAINTENANCE Saturday, June 6, 1998 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The use of heroin maintenance as pharmacotherapy for opiate addiction is gaining acceptance. A landmark Swiss study has successfully maintained heroin addicts on injectable heroin for almost two years, with dramatic reductions in illicit drug use and criminal activity, as well as greatly improved health and social adjustment. This conference will mark the first U.S. presentation of the results of the Swiss program by Professor Ambros Uchtenhagen, M.D., PhD., Principal Investigator of the Swiss National Project on the Medically Controlled Prescription of Narcotics. Heroin trials are also under way or under consideration in several other countries. Leading clinicians, researchers, public health and law enforcement officials from Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States will present their perspectives, plans and programs. *** EXPANDED PHARMACOTHERAPIES FOR THE TREATMENT OF OPIATE DEPENDENCE Friday, September 25, 1998 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Several countries are using opiates for maintenance treatment, including: * codeine * morphine * palfium * buprenorphine * injectable methadone Presenters of these pharmacotherapies will include leading clinicians and health officials from the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Canada, France, Australia, Spain, Israel and the United States These conferences are sponsored by: Beth Israel Medical Center Columbia University School of Public Health The Lindesmith Center of the Open Society Institute Montefiore Medical Center The New York Academy of Medicine Yale University Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS Fee: $40 June 6 conference $50 September 25 conference lunch included For on-line registration: www.nyam.org/meded/announcements/heroin.html For further information contact the New York Academy of Medicine at 212-822-7237, fax at 212-987-4735 or e-mail email@example.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Conference - Global Solution Needed, Say Youth ('Calgary Herald' Says 200 Delegates From Around The World Who Gathered For The Youth Vision Drug Abuse Prevention Forum Last Week In Banff Will, In Their Infinite Wisdom, Tell The United Nations In New York This June That Drug Abuse Is A Global Issue Requiring A Global Solution)Date: Tue, 21 Apr 1998 21:07:16 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: UN: Drug Conference: Global Solution Needed, Say Youth Newshawk: email@example.com (Deb Harper) Pubdate: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 Source: Calgary Herald (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.calgaryherald.com/ Author: Eva Ferguson DRUG CONFERENCE: GLOBAL SOLUTION NEEDED, SAY YOUTH Drug abuse is a global issue requiring a global solution, delegates to a conference on preventing drug abuse among youths will tell the United Nations. Countries must work together to improve prevention programs, increase funding and set new priorities, United Nations leaders at a special planning session in New York this June will be told. The recommendations were compiled last week in Banff when some 200 delegates from around the world gathered for the Youth Vision Drug Abuse Prevention Forum. "I really hope the United Nations takes this seriously,we1/4ve worked too hard for them not to," said Veronica Skog, a 24-year -old from Stockholm. "And I hope the recommendations concerning better networking are taken seriously too." "Programs (around the world) have to start exchanging ideas so they can solve things together. This is a global issue." On Saturday a group of delegates, including Calgary1/4s Chris Wilby, drew up draft recommendations based on four days of workshops. A final plan will be drawn up today. Recommendations are expected to include: - urging governments to increase funding and work more closely with youth by seeking their input when creating new programs. - ensuring programs respect a variety of cultures and include different ideals, religions and languages within their teachings. - demanding schools include drug abuse prevention as part of their regular curriculum. - providing more alternative activities for youths at schools and within their communities, particularly recreational and creative outlets, to steer them away from drug abuse. - delivering more accessible treatment for youths within the health care system and including outreach services to support youth after they've returned to the community. - seeking more positive images for youth in the media. - working with the alcohol industry to make it more difficult for youth to obtain products.Ideas include increasing taxes, enforcing age limits, and stricter licensing policies. - reducing the accessibility of other products connected to drug-abuse, such as glue, gasoline and solvents like hairspray, paints and some cleaning products. Nancy Snowball, spokeswoman for the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission, was impressed with the list of recommendations but not surprised. "I was astonished by how well these young people connected, the conversations were never about the weather or scenery; they were about the issues."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Summit Leaders Agree On Anti-Drug Alliance ('San Jose Mercury News' Says The Leaders Of 34 American Nations Agreed Saturday To Form An Anti-Drug Alliance - Empire To Be Launched With Negotiations Beginning In Washington, DC, Next Month - Clinton Administration Wants Alliance To Replace 12-Year-Old Certification Process, But Congressional Republican Majority May Prevent That) Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 10:31:54 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US: Summit Leaders Agree on Anti-Drug Alliance Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Jerry Sutliff Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 SUMMIT LEADERS AGREE ON ANTI-DRUG ALLIANCE Leaders of 34 American nations agreed Saturday to form an anti-drug alliance despite concern at the move from Republican members of the U.S. Congress. The alliance will be launched with negotiations beginning in Washington next month. Brought together by the Organization of American States, it will have as its centerpiece the region's anti-drug czars to evaluate and report on drug fighting efforts in each member country, including the United States, the world's largest drug market. U.S. officials have said the body could eventually replace a 12-year-old U.S. program that makes U.S. military and economic aid to other countries conditional on Washington's annual certification of compliance with anti-drug efforts. The certification program, required under U.S. law, has been deeply resented by many Latin American countries, which say it is punitive and ignores drug demand created by U.S. users. Two U.S. lawmakers Friday responded to the plans for the alliance, which was agreed at the Summit of the Americas of 34 leaders from all the Americas except for Cuba, which was not invited. ``The alliance, while welcome, cannot become a substitute for certification,'' said Rep. Benjamin Gilman of New York, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, and Rep. Dennis Hastert, chairman of a House subcommittee on national security. ``The OAS could also become yet another forum for drug-producing and transiting nations to join those who blame the (drug) problem solely on U.S. demand, ignoring the effect that massive amounts of cheap, pure drugs from their own countries have on that very same demand,'' they said in a statement. White House National Security Adviser Sandy Berger told reporters in Santiago Saturday the alliance would complement the certification program and there were no plans for now to scrap the program, which would require congressional action. In addition, attitudes over who is responsible for drug abuse -- the consumers in the United States or foreign producers -- have become less polarized, he said. This was demonstrated in discussions on the issue at the Summit of the Americas in Santiago, which Berger contrasted with the first such summit in Miami, in 1994. In Miami, he said, ``We (alone) spoke to the drug problem. It was kind of an us-versus-them discussion.'' He said as much as open trade and the evolution of democracy were now the hemisphere's agenda so too was the drug problem. ``As these countries become both producer and consumer countries some of these old distinctions between us and them break down,'' he said. He quoted Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo as calling drugs the main threat to the rule of law in the hemisphere in Saturday's discussions. The anti-drug plan was adopted in a national security session of the summit. Berger said President Clinton proposed at the session that the OAS require member nations to disclose weapons sales or purchases. Berger said this was a confidence-building move to promote greater awareness of the capabilities of other nations.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Clinton Laments Americas' Problems ('Washington Post' Account Of The Second Summit Of The Americas, In Santiago, Chile) Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 21:57:00 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: Chile: WP: Clinton Laments Americas' Problems Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Washington Post Author: Anthony Faiola, Washington Post Foreign Service Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 19 April 1998 CLINTON LAMENTS AMERICAS' PROBLEMS SANTIAGO, Chile, April 18-On the inaugural day of the second Summit of the Americas, President Clinton heralded the United States' new "partnership" with Latin America, along with the region's economic and democratic transition in the 1990s. But at the same time, he issued a critical analysis of the lingering social problems that leaders here are attempting to grapple with at this weekend's summit and beyond. "Poverty throughout the hemisphere is still too high, income disparity is too great, civil society too fragile, justice systems too weak, too many people still lack the education and skills necessary to succeed in the new economy," Clinton told the hemisphere's 33 other leaders -- all except Cuban President Fidel Castro. "In short, too few feel the change working for them." Clinton's comments cut to the heart of something that has been overlooked generally during his state visit to the summit site in Santiago, the Chilean capital, that began Thursday. Despite how far Latin America has come politically and economically, critical problems still plague the region's fragile democracies. Although Latin America has experienced overall economic growth of 15 percent since the first Summit of the Americas in 1994 in Miami, it still has a disparity between rich and poor that is among the greatest in the world. And while there have been leaps from dictatorships into democracies, trouble spots and lapses in the democratic tradition remain throughout the region. Meanwhile, the narcotics trade is still flourishing in countries such as Colombia and Bolivia, despite attempts to combat the problem. In efforts to address those issues, several initiatives were agreed to today -- and will be signed in a formal accord Sunday. Clinton agreed to launch "security measures" for Latin America including a "multilateral counter-drug alliance" that would attempt to tighten law enforcement on money laundering and help fight an increase in drug consumption. National security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger said the measure was not meant to supplant the United States' policy of "certifying" nations for drug cooperation. Instead, the new measure would "supplement" it. "Let's see how it evolves -- the object of both is to increase and intensify cooperation" in the drug war, Berger said. "This will be another instrument at our disposal." The measures to be signed in Sunday's communique, however, basically lay the groundwork for more specific agreements -- and several contained vague language. The nations agreed, for instance, to improve extradition procedures for narcotics-related crimes, but no legislation was suggested that would make such extraditions mandatory. The first day of the summit also focused on improving Latin American literacy rates. The plan includes a doubling of new loans from the Inter-American Development Bank to $3 billion, and a 50 percent increase in money from the World Bank to $3 billion. The money would be used to improve teacher quality, reduce class sizes and increase technology. "A lot of these democracies are very new, and the gap in education is very wide," said U.S. Education Secretary Richard W. Riley. "I think it is noteworthy [that] virtually all these countries have placed education as a top priority." (c) Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis Campaign - Win A Video (Britain's 'Independent On Sunday' Continues Its Push For The Reform Of Marijuana Laws With A Contest Featuring As Prizes 25 Copies Of Australian Documentary Film Maker Anthony Clarke's 'Hemp Revolution,' Which Has Just Become Available In Britain) Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 12:29:59 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: UK: Cannabis Campaign - Win a Video Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org ((Zosimos) Martin Cooke) Source: Independent on Sunday Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ Pubdate: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 CANNABIS CAMPAIGN - WIN A VIDEO Australian documentary film maker Anthony Clarke has made a unique video guide to the history and controversy surrounding the cannabis question. Copies of the 74-minute video, The Hemp Revolution, have just become available in Britain but the Independent on Sunday has 25 copies to give away to winners of our special competition. The video is the first serious attempt to place on film the full fascinating history of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa), from its hundreds of practical uses through to the cultural forces responsible for its prohibition. "It is perfectly feasible thathemp, used in combination with the bio-technologies presented in this film, could potentially revolutionise the planet," said Mr Clarke. "It is also a fact that hemp, a crop that takes just 120 days to grow, could fulfil the world's need for paper, cloth and fuel whilst also providing high-protein food and useful medicines if only it were legal." The first 25 readers to answer the following three questions correctly (on a self-addressed postcard) will receive a copy of The Hemp Revolution by post. 1. Who was the Governor of California in the 1970s who opposed the decriminalisation of cannabis and who later, as President of the United States, committed the federal government to waging a "war against marijuana"? 2. Is it legal to buy and sell cannabis seeds in Britain? 3. In 1997, the British Medical Association's special report concluded that some of the chemical components of cannabis (cannabinoids) "... have a therapeutic potential in a number of medical conditions in which present drugs or other treatments are not fully adequate". Name three. Those not lucky enough to win our competition can order copies of 'The Hemp Revolution' at #12.99 each from Visual Entertainment, Hampton House, 20 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TJ (Tel: 0171-820 4410) e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Euro - Ideal For Drug Barons (Britain's 'Observer' Says A Book Out Tomorrow, 'EMU - Prospects And Challenges For The Euro,' Suggests People In The Illegal Drug Industry Could Be Among The Main Beneficiaries Of The Single European Currency, As Large Denomination Euro Notes Make It Easier And Cheaper To Smuggle Illegal Profits Across Borders) Date: Tue, 21 Apr 1998 09:10:23 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: UK: OPED: The Euro - Ideal for Drug Barons Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org ((Zosimos) Martin Cooke) Source: The Observer (UK) Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 Author: Anthony Browne, Economics Correspondent THE EURO - IDEAL FOR DRUG BARONS The drug barons of Colombia and the Russian mafia could be among the main beneficiaries of the single European currency, according to a book out tomorrow. Large denomination euro notes will make it easier and cheaper to smuggle their illegal profits across borders. Smuggling cash can account for up to half the cost of drug-running. The largest value note will be 500 euros (about £350), whereas the $100 note is worth only around £60. The dollar is the smugglers' preferred currency. "$1 million in $100 notes fits in a briefcase; $1m worth of 500 euro notes could be packed in a purse," claims Kenneth Rogoff, of Princeton University. "The demand for large denomination notes comes mainly from agents interested in storing and transporting very large sums... such agents tend to be involved in the underground economy." Over the last 20 years there has been a rapid increase in the supply of cash in industrial countries, even taking account of economic growth. There is $1,500 in cash per US citizen, although the average amount held is only a tenth of that. Central banks have concluded that the discrepancy (more than $330 billion) can be accounted for only by foreign holdings and criminal transactions. Other large notes, such as the 100,000 Italian lira, devalue too quickly and are thus expensive to hold for long. The 1,000 Deutschmark note holds its value but is produced in relatively modest numbers: obtaining (or spending) large quantities tends to be noticed. Rogoff suggests the euro's large denominations will give Europe a big advantage in competing for the prestige of the global market for hard currency - and that up to 80 per cent of the notes printed by the European Central Bank will end up in underground or foreign hands. His answer? The central bank should either not print the large denominations or prohibit its use in large transactions. "EMU: Prospects and Challenges for the Euro", published by Centre for Economic Policy Research.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Nurses Set To Back Use Of Cannabis ('Scotland On Sunday' Says A Motion Calling For Patients To Be Prescribed Cannabis Products Has Been Put Forward By The Royal College Of Nursing's Pain Forum And Will Be Debated At The RCN's Annual Conference In Bournemouth This Week) Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 10:54:49 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: UK: Nurses Set to Back Use of Cannabis Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Scotland on Sunday Contact: Letters_sos@scotsman.com Pubdate: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 Author: Sue Leonard, Health Correspondent NURSES SET TO BACK USE OF CANNABIS Nurses are joining the fight to get cannabis products prescribed for patients. The move follows concern that people with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and cancer are not getting adequate pain relief from traditional treatments. A motion calling for patients to be prescribed the drugs has been put forward by the Royal College of Nursing's Pain Forum and will be debated at the RCN's annual conference in Bournemouth this week. Only two cannabis-based products, known as cannabinoids, are currently used therapeutically. One, nabilone, is used in hospitals in Britain to prevent nausea in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. The other, tetrahydrocannabinol, is used in the US to improve the appetites of patients with Aids. Hundreds of people are thought to be illegally using cannabis to fight their symptoms despite the risk of prison sentences and claims by some doctors that it can speed up the heart, causes paranoia and even insanity. Celia Manson, an RCN adviser, said nurses were concerned about the restrictions on current cannabis-derived products which could benefit so many people. "Few doctors are able to prescribe them at the moment. Nurses from the Pain Forum feel there is potential for much greater use and these should at the very least be investigated." A previous motion to decriminilise cannabis was defeated at the conference a few years ago but this one may well be passed by RCN members on Thursday. Last year at its annual conference the British Medical Association voted for cannabis derivatives to be legalised for medical purposes. The BMA drew up a report which showed cannabinoids had potential for therapeutic use in a number of conditions including MS, spinal chord injury, stroke and spastic disorders.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Where Opium Reigned, Burmese Claim Inroads ('New York Times' Says The Military Junta That Seized Power In Burma In 1988 May Be Shifting Its 'Attitude' Toward The Illegal Opium Market) Newshawk: Dick Evans (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: New York Times ( NY) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 Author: Christopher Wren WHERE OPIUM REIGNED, BURMESE CLAIM INROADS LASHIO, Burma -- In the remote valleys and rugged mountains here in northeastern Burma, opium offers more than a narcotic high. For years, it has provided a livelihood for hill tribes who inhabit the northern expanse of the Golden Triangle, the lush, lawless area of Southeast Asia that is the source of much of the world's heroin. Opium finances daily needs, from rice and cooking oil to assault rifles. The rifles are used to wage rebellion and to defend the mule caravans transporting the sticky, pungent opium to be refined into heroin for American and European drug habits. Burma produced an estimated 2,600 tons of opium last year, enough to make more than 200 tons of heroin -- at least 60 percent of the world total. But the drug trade is changing along Burma's porous frontiers with Thailand, China and Laos, and one of the most startling shifts may be in the attitude of the military junta that seized power in this country in 1988. For years the junta tolerated opium trafficking as the price of its cease-fires with insurgent ethnic groups. Now it says that it wants to eradicate all opium within five years. To show what it has accomplished, it recently allowed three American reporters into an opium-growing region usually closed to visitors. Some diplomats in Yangon, the capital, view the eradication claim skeptically because land devoted to opium cultivation has doubled under the junta's rule, and the country's mismanaged economy has grown to rely on laundered drug profits. The government says it has eradicated 41,000 acres of poppies, one-tenth of the land under opium cultivation in Burma. "The crop eradication areas are only small parts of the areas they do control," a Western diplomat said. 'They are window dressing." Col. Gyaw Thien, the chief of Burma's counter-narcotics program, disagreed, declaring that the government was being asked to solve a century-old problem in two weeks without any help. "It's quite unfair," he said. "We are making much more effective interdictions and seizures than we have in the past." Last year, police and army units reported seizing 1.5 tons of heroin, compared with about half a ton in 1996, though their record seizures amount to less than 1 percent of Burma's output. "This drug problem is not only the problem of the United States," Gyaw Thien said. "It's our problem too. We know that we cannot fight this alone." The junta's new policy puts Washington in a quandary because the United States cut off counter-narcotics aid to Burma after the coup in 1988. Restoring such aid could undercut other American economic sanctions and lend legitimacy to a dictatorship that stands accused of widespread abuse of human rights. "We think we can get rid of 60 percent of the heroin going into the U.S. in 12 months' time if the U.S. cooperates with us," said Hla Min, the deputy director of the Office of Strategic Studies, a planning branch of military intelligence. A Western diplomat who watched the shift concluded: "What this government wants to do is perpetuate itself in power. They know it's got a bad image. They looked at drugs and found this is the one asset they have. They'd like to use whatever they've done to improve their image and try to get sanctions lifted." The State Department acknowledges in its latest drug control report that it has no evidence that Burma's government is trafficking in drugs on an institutional level. "However," the report said, "there are persistent and reliable reports that officials, particularly army personnel posted in outlying areas, are involved in the drug business." The government denies this, citing the arrest of 11 army officers last April for colluding with a heroin refining operation in northern Shan state. The senior officer, a lieutenant colonel, was sent to prison for 25 years. It also deported Li Yunchun, a fugitive trafficker indicted in New York, to Thailand, which handed him over to the United States. But new traffickers, notably the Wa, a fierce hill people whose ancestors hunted heads, have wrested control of the lucrative heroin business from remnants of renegade Chinese Nationalist soldiers and rebel militias. Nearly a million Wa straddle the border between China and Burma. Their insurgent army has diversified from heroin into methamphetamines, powerful synthetic stimulants that have saturated Thailand and since turned up in Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia, Burmese and Western officials say. A Burmese counter-narcotics official said that the Wa now make more money from methamphetamines than from heroin and refine both drugs themselves using chemicals smuggled in primarily from China. Because of aggressive interdiction by the Thai police, the old trafficking routes through the Golden Triangle are shifting from Thailand and into China, or less often Laos and even northeastern India. Some heroin still moves by truck down from the Shan highlands market town of Lashio, through lowland Mandalay to the port of Yangon, as Rangoon is now called. Eradicating opium could help the military government's strategy of subduing ethnic insurgents who traffic in opium to finance their wars of independence. government troops cannot enter most Wa-controlled territory without a battle. With an army estimated at 15,000 to 20,000 men, the Wa have grown so strong, acquiring surface-to-air missiles and modern communications equipment, that government troops complain about feeling outgunned. Last summer, a 30-man government patrol was wiped out when it ran into a Wa mule caravan smuggling methamphetamine to Thailand. "The Burmese would like nothing better than to do away with the drug trade," another diplomat in Yangon said, "because it would take guns out of the hands of these armies." The government's creation of a handful of opium-free zones has upset local farmers. "What we're talking about is really changing their life style," said Jorgen Kristensen, an official with the U.N. Drug Control Program, which has introduced alternative development projects. "Poppy cultivation is ingrained in their culture." At Nam Tit, a Wa town about a half-hour's walk from the Chinese border, Zi Zi Fa, a farmer in patched shirt and shorts, said that his grandfather and father grew opium poppies. He earned about $650 for his own annual crop of 12 1/2 pounds of opium, which he did not need to take to market. "When I was growing poppies," he said, "the buyer came to me." Since the government told him to grow soybeans instead, Zi said, he earns one-tenth of what opium paid, not enough to feed 10 family members. "The family is barely surviving," he said, echoing a complaint expressed by opium farmers in Afghanistan and coca farmers in Colombia and Peru. "If we did not grow poppies, our income would not last more than one or two months," he said. 'In the high mountains, rice doesn't grow, and it's too cold. The corn is fit only for the pigs." In the nearby border town of Chin Shwe Haw, Kyan Ti Jy, a farmer from the ethnic Chinese Kokang minority, said, "We earned more money growing poppies, but our leader said to stop growing opium." Kyan obediently planted lichee trees and sugar cane. Now, he complained, "nobody's buying sugar because there's no mill." Construction on a sugar refinery is not expected before September. With their incomes slashed by more than half, "the farmers are not very happy," said a local official, Kyan Tin Wan. "But the government is giving out rubber plants and lichee trees almost free of charge, and free fertilizer," he said. It will take at least three years for the lichee trees to bear fruit. In the meantime, Kyan Tin Wan said, "large families who cannot stand it are going out of designated opium-free areas to where the government cannot touch them." The official conceded that even farmers who gave up opium as a crop "still might be growing a little bit here and there for medicinal purposes." At his base in Lauk Kai, the Kokang political leader, Peng Jiasheng, said it was hard for his people to stop growing opium. "We admit there is poppy growing in this area to a certain extent, but not the way we've been portrayed," he said. "It's not that the leaders are buying opium and taking it down to the Golden Triangle. We're not involved in that." Before the Kokang concluded a cease-fire with the Burmese government in 1989, Peng trafficked in opium himself. "When we were insurgents, we needed to expand our army and we needed weapons and food," he said. "For that we needed to grow more poppies." His troops did not cultivate opium, Peng said, but levied a 40 percent tax on what local farmers produced. "Seventy percent of the people in this area were supporting us financially for the insurgency," he explained. "But now there's no more fighting and our troops are drastically reduced." At the height of the rebellion, he said, the Kokang and Wa could field 60,000 soldiers between them. Now, he insisted, his troops have dwindled to 500. "Today it's peaceful, so we don't need to grow poppies," the Kokang leader said, waving a hand adorned with a heavy gold bracelet and gold rings. "If my people can have their stomachs full and something appropriate to wear, they are happy enough. They don't need anything more." Taking the profit out of opium may be the toughest challenge because when the leader of a drug operation quits, contenders jockey to replace him. For years, Khun Sa and his narco-army dominated the heroin trade under the guise of fighting for Shan self-determination. After some of his troops mutinied, Khun Sa negotiated his surrender in January 1996 and lives comfortably, but in poor health, under government observation in Yangon. "We were fighting him for years," Hla Min of the Office of Strategic Studies said, justifying the government's accommodation with Khun Sa. "We were not gaining much ground because he was well equipped, well dug-in, and the terrain was terrible. We were sacrificing too many casualties." "Khun Sa is a walking encyclopedia regarding the drug issue," Colonel Hla Min said. "Everything he knows, we know. But this is a multibillion-dollar business." The vacuum left by Khun Sa was soon filled by Wei Hsueh-kang, a Wa commander who is said to have 7,000 troops protecting his heroin and methamphetamine operation. "All information is that he's getting larger by the day," said a Western official who follows narcotics matters. For all the heroin they export to the United States and Europe, such leaders do not tolerate its use in their own ranks. Khun Sa detoxified errant soldiers in cages exposed to the blistering sun or in soggy holes in the ground. While older Kokang people may use opium as medicine, Peng said, heroin "is not medicine, so there's no excuse." "Trading in heroin is a serious offense," he said. "We shoot the person."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Customs Officers 'Set Up Bogus Drug Deals' (Britain's 'Independent On Sunday' Says British Customs And Excise Officers In Pakistan Are Being Investigated Following Allegations That Asians In The UK Were Set Up In Bogus Drug Deals) Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 12:29:50 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: UK: Customs Officers 'Set Up Bogus Drug Deals' Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com ((Zosimos) Martin Cooke) Source: Independent on Sunday Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ Pubdate: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 Author: Steve Boggan CUSTOMS OFFICERS 'SET UP BOGUS DRUG DEALS' British Customs and Excise officers in Pakistan are being investigated following allegations that Asians in the UK were "set up" in bogus drug deals. An inquiry is being conducted by the Customs National Investigation Service after a convicted drug dealer claimed that he helped to set up stings for the Drugs Liaison Office attached to the British High Commission in Islamabad. Two court cases involving 55kg of heroin with a street value of #5.5m have already collapsed because the dealer, Hussain Shah, a 45-year-old Bradford businessman, offered to give evidence for the defence about his involvement in setting up the "victims". Senior Customs officials are concerned that a campaign by defence solicitors in as many as 13 cases going back four years could result in genuine criminals launching appeals because of Shah's claims. They centre on Customs and Excise "controlled deliveries" of drugs into the UK in operations where informants from Pakistan pose as couriers to lead investigators to large-scale buyers in Britain. Shah, 45, claims he was recruited by Customs officers in Pakistan after fleeing there to escape charges relating to a 3kg drugs deal in Britain in 1995. His solicitor, Mohammed Rafique, says Shah, who was anxious to return to his Bradford home, was approached by Customs officials and promised that his case would be dropped if he agreed to help set upstings in the UK in which deliveries were made to chosen individuals. "Mr Shah says they told him that if he co-operated, his case would go no further," Mr Rafique said. "He got involved in roping a few people into deals in Britain but when he returned last year he was arrested and sentenced to four years in prison." Last October, Chunni Singh and Gill Singh were acquitted at Leeds Crown Court of smuggling 20kg of heroin into Britain after Shah offered to give evidence relating to his involvement in their case. Earlier, three other defendants, accused of importing 35kg of heroin, had charges against them dropped, again after prosecutors were told that Shah was prepared to give evidence. Philip Sweeney, solicitor for one of the three, Waheed Rehman, said: "It was a godsend. The men were looking at 15 to 20 years. But they were drawn in by the operation. They certainly weren't big operators." Although the defendants in each case appeared quite willing to buy large amounts of drugs, they argue that heroin is offered so cheaply that temptation results in entrapment. Customs and Excise confirmed that a "thorough" inquiry was under way. It is understood at least two men, jailed for their part in receiving a controlled delivery in Manchester in 1994, are to be interviewed in prison by Mike Fletcher, head of the Customs National Investigation Service, or his deputy, Mike Newsom. Customs sources say no impropriety has been uncovered so far. However senior officers are known to be concerned that Shah's claims and the orchestrated actions of determined defence solicitors could lead to appeals by jailed drugs importers whose convictions were justified. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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